Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings
Chicken House, January 2011
Sometimes I just need some Sophia Bennett. She’s the quintessential favorite aunt or cherished friend that can be counted on to alleviate a funk. Sneaky, clever and witty, she is the ultimate introspective author for me.
At a blush Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings looks to be a light, quick read packed with friends, fashion and fun. Ms. Bennett cheerfully gives us that. The charismatic cast engages in witty and quite funny conversations, particularly over Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. Nonie is bold in her improvised, innovative couture, while sweet Jenny tries to walk the red carpet walk as an emerging, yet sadly suited starlet. Edie grounds the trio, focusing on Harvard entrance and her exponentially growing blog.
With three teen girls centered in the story, of course we can expect boy crushes, hopes (realized and dashed) and heart-break. Admittedly consuming in real life, Ms. Bennett politely puts this in perspective reminding the readers that “looking for love” is truly only a very small part of life for these brilliant, talented young ladies.
The aforementioned alone, told in Ms. Bennett’s compelling, captivating tone, would make for a fantastic read, but that’s not how Ms. Bennett rolls. Rather, she shows the side of teens that is often overlooked. Crow, the ridiculously talented, young African girl designer is understandably complex and quiet. Her father forced her to flee the war zone to live with an aunt she barely knows.
Attention naturally shifts from somewhat trivial items to actual issues. The brutal rebel group, The Lord’s Resistance Army is still active and believed responsible for the kidnapping of Crow’s older brother Henry. As the friendship develops between Crow and three gal pals, horrors that were studied in History class become someone’s every-day life. Passionately livid and personally offended, as only a teen can be, Edie rallies her friends to help Crow compete in a coveted fashion-designing contest, simultaneously taking to her blog to raise funds for the Invisible Children and try to find out what became of Crow’s older brother.
Sequins, Secrets ,and Silver Linings was exactly what I needed. The fascinating fun and ever changing dynamics among teen girl friends was delightfully distracting. The sheer determination, righteous indignation and swift action taken by these young folks against the LRA helped center me with hope and inspiration, because Ms. Bennett never lets me down.
Reviewed by jv poore, April 2015.